I like comic books, and I like westerns, but I haven’t read many comic book westerns. I was recently browsing my local library and stumbled upon DC’s All Star Western series, so of course I had to give it a go. This trade paperback provides a lot of bang for the buck. You get an entire Jonah Hex in Gotham story, as well as stories featuring The Barbary Ghost and El Diablo. Finally, the back pages feature sketches of all of the main characters.
I didn’t fall in love with All Star Western, but it’s a fun library series. The writers placing Jonah Hex in Gotham makes a fun mashup. One of my favorite parts of DC’s lore is the hellish nature of Gotham – there’s just something so sick and haunted about that particular piece of geography. Hex is the right guy to fight fire with fire. In this story, he teams up with Dr. Arkham to solve some mysterious disappearances of children.
I love the art. The colors and the heavy ink remind me of a continental comic more than the sparseness you might expect in a western. It works because of the oppressive nature of Gotham and the genuine scariness of some of the bad guys in the book.
While i did enjoy the main story, I enjoyed the extras featuring The Barbary Ghost (an immigrant in San Francisco facing the mob) and El Diablo (western zombies) just as much, if not more.
This series won’t end up in my permanent collection, but I do intend to keep reading.